The Crudup Family| Arizona | Laura Gentry Photography

Kalil, age 3, "loving,bright, daring."
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Beautiful imagery by Laura Gentry Photography

Words by Kalil's mother, Brittney:

Have you ever looked at your child and thought, "I wonder why he or she isn't where they need to be at this age?".

Today I woke up and I was thinking of what to say to bring awareness. When my son kalil was almost one my husband and I started noticing he wasn't meeting some of the milestones as a one year old should have. One of the things we noticed was he wasn't saying the amount of words he should have been at the age of one. It came to our minds as if he was just to young and he will start talking a lot better when he hits 1.5-2 yrs old. Another thing we noticed was, he wasn't responding to his name right away. In our minds we thought," okay, he has selective hearing" as EVERY CHILD has. However we noticed it wasn't just selective hearing, so we took him in to get his hearing checked. He passed with flying colors. What a relief! However, with the help of his amazing daycare providers, he still wasn't talking like he should have so we decided to get him into speech therapy. Crazy to think, a 1 year old in speech therapy! We wanted to start early. Once he hit about 1.5 years old we noticed he wasn't playing face to face with kids, he would play near a child but not with them. That's when we knew it could be something bigger then shyness because my son is the happiest most friendly kid ever. So we decided to get him tested to just make sure it wasn't something bigger than just a speech delay. We had people ask, well do you think kalil could have autism? In our mind we didn't think it was autism but we knew it was something, we just didn't know. As a parent you never want to think of your child having a developmental disability. So we set the appointment for kalil to get tested. The wait time was 5-6 months for an appointment, YIKES! The wait was unbearable, we just wanted to get the appointment over with. So in the meantime, we kept kalil in speech therapy, he had some amazing therapist who worked with him every week. Including the day care providers. June of 2016 we finally had the appointment. We waited in the testing room after the test was done for the results. That was the worst 15 minutes of my life! The doctor comes in and states "well kalil, is such a amazing smart little boy, with so many talents, after the test was concluded, it is determined that he is on the spectrum of autism". I began to cry because the way the doctor told me was like as if it was a death sentence! I cried and cried for hours after being told the diagnosis. Not because he is autistic but because now it became real.

My son kalil is 3 years old and will be 4 in august, he is the most amazing little guy you could ever meet! He is talented, smart, ambitious,friendly, caring and so lovable towards everyone. He is doing amazing in preschool and meeting each and every one of his goals. He is such a great big brother to his younger brother Jayden, Jayden thinks kalil is just so amazing. He may not know how much Jayden looks up to him but one day kalil will realize that he is his brother's superhero. My husband and I love our son so much each and everyday, we don't treat him any different than we would treat anyone else. He is our baby and no diagnosis will ever change that. 

I am telling you all this information, not for sympathy but just for awareness. Today is nation autism awareness day and what not a great way to celebrate and support it but to share what you went through. While my son was diagnosed as having mild autism, it is something we take seriously. It was at first hard to talk about it because we were afraid of what people would think of him, will they treat him differently? Will kids call him names and tease him for not speaking like he should? Everything runs through your mind a parent. Truth is, regardless of anything he is loved unconditionally by friends and family and most importantly his parents and brother. 

One of my favorite quotes:
"Cherish the children marching to the beat of their own music, they make the most beautiful songs"

Spectrum Inspired.